Start-Up in California Plans to Capture Lithium, and Market Share

Simbol MaterialsSeptember 28, 2011, New York Times – A start-up company will announce on Wednesday that it is beginning commercial operations at a factory in Southern California to capture lithium from existing geothermal energy plants, a technology it says has the potential to turn the United States into a major lithium exporter.

The plant, built by Simbol Materials near the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley, will also capture manganese and zinc.

None of the materials that Simbol plans to produce are so-called rare earths, but a study by the American Physical Society in February identified lithium and zinc as likely to be very important in the new energy economy of the future. The society considers them “energy critical elements.”

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